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ASK THE EXPERTS

Pack pews, not heat in church

POSTED: August 31, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Dear God,

 

It’s me again. I think of myself as your good and faithful servant and I certainly hope you see it this way, especially when my time comes.

 

It seems that there are a lot more folks who claim to be speaking for you.

 

They invoke your name on everything.

 

I had someone come and see me who was running for office. He said he was running because you told him to. I’m not questioning him, but with all the stuff going on in the entire universe, I didn’t realize that you would be fielding a candidate for public office.

 

Of course, they all claim your support. I’ve been to events on the same day for two people running for the same office. They had someone stand up at both and ask you to bless the candidate. I think that’s wonderful.

 

One of the people suggested in his prayer that you would help the voters see what a good guy this candidate is. I didn’t know it worked that way.

 

There are other folks who want to make laws about what we can do at your house, the church.

 

They want to make it legal to bring a gun into your holy house. It seems to me that we should be more concerned about packing pews than packing heat.

 

Now I understand there are some crazy people out there. I’m not sure why, but some of your children do some things that must make you sad. I can’t imagine how you must feel when a guy walks into one of your houses, where folks have gathered to worship you, and starts shooting people.

 

While those incidents are few and far between, we tend to remember them.

 

Something inside us makes us want to jump up and send those folks on an early trip to visit you. We tend to secretly wish that you would immediately dispatch them for an eternal time in torment.

 

When I look back at that last paragraph, it sounds incredibly honest, but not very Christian-like.

 

What also seems very un-Christian is the idea of packing a pistol under my choir robe. The thought of some nut shooting somebody in your house is awful. The thought of me and other folks carrying a gun to retaliate just doesn’t seem right.

 

When I was a kid, we called the place we had church services the sanctuary.

 

Modern churches may call them an auditorium or worship center, but this is the place where it’s us and you. It’s a holy place. There will be folks who jump all over me for this, but it’s no place for a gun.

 

I know there are some bad apples in this world. That first crowd you put on earth is evidence of that. I don’t think you made them that way. You just give folks a lot of latitude in making decisions. They can choose good or evil, but it’s up to them.

 

A lot of folks who went for evil early on, end up at your house hoping to join the “good” team. We should be there to welcome them with open arms, not loaded arms.

 

If your children want to carry a gun at their house, in their car or in their pocket, that’s fine. But there ought to be one place where we feel safe because you’re watching out for us.

 

Let’s talk soon,

 

Harris

 

Harris Blackwood is the author of “When Old Mowers Die.” His e-mail address is harrisb@forsythnews.com.

 

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